I awoke to see cold steel and cement backdrop quite unlike those I’d fallen asleep to. Though initially somewhat disturbing, those crumbling plaster department store walls became quite comfortable to me in time. I could feel a profane stabbing pain in my abdomen, not as ungodly as the procedure, but quite painful. I put my arms into the correct position and pulled myself up on them. The searing stomach pain was getting worse as I pulled myself to a sitting position. I fell onto my back and screamed at the sight: My abdomen had an enormous gash in it, blood soaked my fur and I could see layers of bloody muscle tissue. I attempted to pull my self off the operating table that I was lying on. This is just a bad case of Déjà vu… I kept trying to tell myself. All this was to no avail.
I reached for my SMG and realized that all my weapons had been confiscated. I decided to try my luck moving on—
Dear God… I thought. On the operating tool tray laid the very knife that Black Doom had sliced that cursed wrist with; crusted blood remained on it from the first operation. My memories slowly crept up on me… No, these weren’t my memories, but the memories of another.
There was a girl…An orange echidna. I could see through her eyes. The view was blurry; I assume she’d been stunned similar with a weapon similar to those batons. Blurry figures surrounded her, and a blur of grey, black and red. I already knew who that blurred bastard was. He held in his hand a rod-like object, which was most definitely the knife. He raised his hand and plunged the out-of-focus knife deep into the girl’s eye, poor vision becoming no vision at all. Her screams shattered spiritual glass and made me feel as if my very soul was being lacerated. I could hear flesh ripping as Black Doom drove the knife into her heart and tore it out repeatedly.
Beep…Beep…Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep— the monitor chirped…
Footsteps drew closer. I still couldn’t see a thing.
“Are you off of your frickin’ nut?” A man sounding like Gerald hissed. “You killed her!! She was supposed to survive the procedure!”
“Do not worry, mortal.” Black Doom responded, “She will survive.”
The room remained silent for a number of seconds. Black Doom then broke the silence, hands rustling through his coat. All of the sudden, my entire field of vision was filled with a dark grey.
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee—Beep, beep, beep…”The dead heart monitor came back to life.
The girl wailed that soul-stabbing scream once again. Surely enough, something had resurrected her. Her eyes opened, but saw perfectly. She mustered the strength to lean her head up. A large black jewel had impaled her and was slowly being absorbed into her chest. This was definitely a chaos emerald, but at the same time, this was impossible. There never was a black chaos emerald.
Her entire body was covered in lengthened, sharpened echidna dreads, most noticeably the ones engulfing her left eye. Her feet had on them the same hover shoes, obviously a trademark of Black Doom.
“Tell me mortal,” Black Doom said, “What is your name?”
“Tikal,” She spurted.
“No longer…You are Blaydes…”
“You heartless monster! Let me go or you’ll regret it!!” Blaydes yelled in a heavy metal fashion. Her vision began to blur as her bloodied naked body came out of focus…
“OH MY GOD!” I howled as I flew up into a sitting position like a young child up from a nightmare. My eyes shifted to my stomach, which had a large semi-bald patch replacing an enormous bleeding gash. No amount of time could’ve passed to make a wound that colossal heal up.
“Oh Lord no. He’s awake…” A man said standing next to me. He wore a lab coat and shakily held a walkie-talkie in his left hand. He popped up the antenna, and I instinctively spun around on the table and kicked him in the forehead, knocking him out for the time being. The communicator in his hand began to rattle.
Riggs…Riggs, come in! Dammit! We lost him.
I decided to search his pockets…Maybe he had a weapon. Several bottles of pills as well as vials of chemicals were littered around in his pockets. Among these seemingly useless medical supplies, I found a syringe, which was almost twice as long as my hand.
“Anything this huge in the hands of a doctor means trouble for someone.” I said to myself, chuckling as I stuffed the needle into my bag.
“There he is!” A young man yelled, pulling out a machine gun and opening fire. Survival instinct kicked in and I jumped behind the operating table I was laying on a little while and turned it over. The constant plink of bullets was wearing on my nerves, so I ripped the bloody knife from the small table and pitched it at the man with the gun. It went past his head, but a piece of his eye came with it. He instantly dropped to his knees, clutching his eye, gasping, and screaming. Blood fauceted from his face and small bits of ocular tissue littered the floor. I walked up to him, slammed his head into the concrete floor, thus knocking him out, and took his gun.
“Black creature spotted!” A GUN officer said, pointing an SMG as dozens of soldiers followed suite.
“Aww shit…” I said, running to dodge fire. I felt a sort of tingle coming to my body.
Thank you, God… I thought as I put this blue aura to good use. People fell like smoking dominoes, as five dozen militants fell to the floor during their last stand.
“Selling your soul to the military… What a sick joke.” I said. Just then, like a vibe from above, I could feel them, just seconds away from me.
Five seconds until lethal gas… I heard from a nearby lab. I could feel time slow to a crawl as I took to the air, tearing through concrete and steel as if they were never really there.
I could almost taste the target lab behind this wall.
I saw Daiv and Faush, tranquilized and stuck on tables.
The restraints gave as if they were wet noodles. Daiv was out.
Fausch was free, and I flew the two into a secure area.
Doors have been sealed, and all personnel should have evacuated…
“Are you guys okay?” I asked, tapping their shoulders as my aura faded.
“Shit, man!” Fausch groaned, “You’ll never believe the day I’ve had.”
“We can discuss these things later,” Daiv said, groggy. “We’ve gotta find the ring.”
“Don’t think you’ll be doing anything very soon!” A voice cawed. It was definitely female, but forceful, like a female body builder.
“…It’s–” I stopped dead in my tracks as she dropped from an air duct.
“Your successor.” She said. “But you can call me Blaydes, that is, if you can say anything before I run you sacks of shit through!” She raised her left hand, which seemed to morph into steel claws. She dashed toward the three of us, and believe me, she was fast. A claw jutted toward me, but I twisted quick enough where it only grazed my stomach, which still hurt, but barely as bad as a mortal blow would’ve been. My combat instinct kicked in and I dove backwards, landed on my hands, and kicked upwards into Blaydes’s left cheek. She flinched, but recovered quickly and took another swipe. I expected the worst, but didn’t feel anything. I looked up to see Fausch, blocking with a roll of bandages.
“Shadow! Do something quick!” Fausch said. I remembered the syringe. This isn’t going to be pretty…I thought, hands on the needle. I stabbed the point into the arm that was caught in the bandages and pushed it all the way in. Blaydes gasped, tears falling from her eyes as she dropped to the floor.
I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of her. I thought.
“Hey Fausch, what ever happened to the ring finder?” I asked.
“I have it right here, actually.” Fausch responded, whipping it out of his pocket. “It says…”
“What?” Daiv asked, shaking.
“Inside that door.” Fausch said, pointing straight ahead.
We walked forward. Time seemed to stand as still as Blaydes’s unconscious body as Daiv turned the knob.
There it was. Right in front of us stood the object of all our toil; the Pink Ring.
“Just in case we never see each other again…” I said, trembling, “You guys are the best damn friends I’ve ever had.” I couldn’t hold the tears or sobs back any longer; I was bawling.
“Likewise.” Fausch said, tears dropping under his glasses.
“Let’s go.” Daiv said.
So, is this the end of our journey? We’ll know as soon as we go through…
When my eyes opened, I saw the crumbling walls of the old department store.
“Dammit! It was all a farce.” I said. Pounding the floor.
I walked into the ‘Living room,’ looking at Daiv’s depressed face.
“We know.” Fausch said.
“God only knows if we’ll ever get back to Knothole now.” Daiv whimpered.
“We’ll have to wait for the next ring.” Fausch said. “Or we could do plan B.”
“Plan B?” I asked, puzzled.
Fausch pounded a spot on his desk, and the bricks in the wall folded aside, showing a staircase. We walked in as the wall reformed behind us. We descended for what seemed like hours. Finally, we got to the bottom, which had two dimly lit stasis tubes.
“Cold sleep?” I asked.
“Precisely.” Fausch said, readying the tubes.
“There are only two, though.” Daiv said.
“As the scientist, I feel that I should wait for the next energy sp–”
“I’ll wait.” I said.
“There’s no talking me out of this. I know that I can defend the three of us, and so I will.”
Daiv and Fausch hesitantly nodded and stepped into the tubes.
I pressed the button to enable cold stasis, knowing I was signing the next years of my life away…